• penrhiwpottery

What's a Philosophy?

I was recently asked to write our 'Philosophy' for the new website and for an award nomination..

The definition of Philosophy (other than the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence...!!!???) is...

'A theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behavior'.

So I thought, 'phew', and just kind of started talking to myself out loud (not unheard of at all) and so came the outcome...just me talking about how we live and work really, nothing fancy, just the way we view each other and the world (and how we choose to live in it).

We have so many ideas and plans which we are working towards (poly tunnels for plants and vegetables, flower gardens, eventually having a plant based diet) but one thing at a time...so here it is, the attitude behind who we are at Penrhiw Pottery....

Dave and I are passionate about what we do, passionate about each other, passionate about our pottery, our children, the environment we live in. We believe that pottery, be it on the wheel or hand building (or even just watching), has a therapeutic quality that is so effective and vital in this fast paced and stressful world we live in. This is two sided...firstly you really can't rush pottery...there is no cutting corners for us (just turning feet on pots), so the process of making pottery forces you to slow down, relax and loose some of that tension we all carry. One of the biggest lessons Dave has taught me (being a slightly manic, energetic Virgo) is to take my time. I used to rush into the studio when Winter was a baby and having a nap saying...''right, I may have 30 minutes...what can I do???'' Dave would say ''nothing, sit down, have a cuppa''. I always used to be thinking ahead, planning, sorting my ideas and time into some kind of practical order, and although I still do that in my general day to day life (brain works quickly), when it comes to pottery I have learnt to take my time. When I glaze, its a piece at a time, I focus on just that one pot, not the next one, or the next board, or how they might come out...and it is a calming and wonderful way to work. This influence has obviously rubbed off on everything else too, and I chuckle at myself when I'm feeling a bit manic...''one pot at a time'' I say to myself when my little one is running in one direction and my teenager is calling me from another!

Secondly, we watch our children and listen, watch this next generation buy cheap, throw away and replace, which we never did as kids. Mainly due to finance and the attitude that came from that...but we never had to deal with or compete with the social media that our young people fight with everyday...the relentless nature of it..the obsession with being popular and how many likes you have.

This blog is much longer than most, so maybe I'm alienating the generation that have short attention spans...but this is us and this blog is us inviting you into our world, therefore I'm taking my time!

With this in mind we feel our teaching, be it a 1-1 lesson, an hour session for 2 people or a girlie evening for 6, from kids to the more elderly of us, we want our pottery to educate...in a positive, safe, family environment. To not only show people that our work is truly hand made, taking time, love and passion but that if you take care of your pottery, and love it, it will last forever! Lets not forget that you can make something with your own two hands (those two hands always working together), from a ball of clay to a bowl...and we will never tire of the obvious joy we witness when someone creates something! We are always hoping that the small bit we do to educate (teaching in person or online), opens up the door to handmade work that is not mass produced and not throw away...this will and does make a massive difference to how you feel about the mug you drink from, the bowl you serve from, the teapot you pour from...

We also combine our pottery with a love for the outside..the pottery is always heavily influenced by our ever changing and wild landscape, particularly our glazes. But now, having been in the privileged position to be working alongside Alex at No 21 Flowers in Aberystwyth, flowers and plants have become increasingly part of our lives and work. I look at our garden differently now, this wild space and see how much potential there is, how much benefit and how much it really suits us (say's the city girl!) ...and back we come to the therapeutic nature of our lives! We have always made a handful of plant pots, but now we look at them differently, with fresh eyes and new ideas...

So we are certainly thankful to be learning form the creative people we are meeting around us, friendships that are built on respect and admiration for skill, talent and hard work.

Learning never stops for us, and we welcome it, the pottery, the business, the children, our friendships all teach us and keep us moving forward and open to whatever and wherever our journey takes us...its very exciting (so a little of that manic energy is a good thing right??)..bring it on we say...and come along and follow us whilst we develop the business and ourselves...Anouska, Dave, Jack and Winter xxx

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